Veterans shocked by Nagasaki criticism

VJ commemorations: Japanese representatives attend official service, but many servicemen find it difficult to forgive; AROUND THE NATION
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The Independent Online
JOJO MOYES

A row broke out yesterday over a sermon made at a remembrance service attended by the Princess Royal which criticised the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the allies.

The Very Rev Keith Patrick O'Brien, Roman Catholic archbishop of St Andrew's in Edinburgh, also criticised Britain's commitment to nuclear weapons. All those actions "are seen as simply the most dramatic examples of a readiness to treat civilians as though they were enemy soldiers", he said.

Many of the hundreds of veterans who were at the service at St Giles Cathedral said afterwards that it had been more like "a CND rally". Three people from an anti-nuclear organisation were arrested as they tried to deliver a letter to the Princess when she arrived for the service.

Meanwhile, church bells rang out across Britain at noon. In Cardiff, around 8,000 ex- servicemen took part in an emotional public tribute staged against the backdrop of Cardiff Castle. There the Prince of Wales met veterans from the so-called "Forgotten Army" who were involved in the most bitter battles with the Japanese.

Former corporal in the Wor-cester Regiment, Ron Donovan, 79, said: "I think this week's ceremonies have been very worthwhile if they make people think and remember what happened."

He added: "There is not a day when I don't think of the pals I lost out there."

At a VJ-Day ceremony in Belfast the Duke of York joined 3,000 veterans at Balmoral Showgrounds and paid tribute to the commitment of the people of Ireland during the Second World War.

More than 4,000 British troops stood to attention at the Croatian port of Ploce in the former Yugoslavia.

The military parade of the men from 24 Airmobile Brigade was the biggest in the world marking the 50th anniversary of VJ Day.

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